Greece Says Running Out of Money, But Handouts Coming

ATHENS – After indications that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, facing a re-election campaign in 2023, will announce more benefits for beleagured Greek households, the Finance Ministry said state coffers are getting low.

The New Democracy government is already subsidizing up to 96 percent of doubled electric bills for households, along with aid for gasoline prices, with what could be record-breaking tourism seen bringing in as much as 20 billion euros ($19.96 billion) this year even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the ministry said the need to pump even more aid into electricity bills is draining the ability to provide more state assistance despite predicting 4 percent growth and backing away from a pledge to consider reducing a 24 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on food stuffs.

Of the up to 2.3 billion euros ($2.3 billion) believed available for extra spending by the end of the year, only 400-700 million ($399.15-$698.52 million) can go to aid other than for electric bills, said Kathimerini.

Officials are awaiting data results from the second quarter of the year from April to June, expected out on Sept. 7, just three days before Mitsotakis will appear at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) to talk of handouts.

“The budget, tourism and the growth rate in the second quarter will… be considered in looking for (spending) margins in the fourth quarter of 2022 and throughout 2023,” Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said.


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